Sharing and Dialogue on Research Findings on Environmental, Social and Governance Practices of Gold Mining Industry In Cambodia

The NGO Forum on Cambodia (NGOF), as a member of Fair Finance Coalition, had worked with its members to organize a sharing dialogue and workshop to share and discuss about Environmental, Social, and Governance Practices of Gold Mining Industry in Cambodia. The workshop was held during half-day on the 2nd December 2022 in Sunway Hotel, Phnom Penh.

The objectives of the workshop are:
• To share and discuss with relevant stakeholders including line ministries, development partners, private sectors, academia, and communities about the study findings.
• To develop a joint action plan to move forward promoting ESG in Gold Mining Industry in Cambodia.

With all in-person attendees of 14 participants (1 female) actively participating (Annex 2), and many more participants from national and sub-national levels joined the meeting online. Those online participants were from Mondulkiri, Ratanakiri, and Preah Vihear provinces, where the study was held.
The workshop was chaired by:
• Dr. Tek Vannara, Executive Director of the NGOF
• Mr. Phonyut Sakara, FFC Coordinator, Oxfam Cambodia

The workshop was facilitated by Mr. Mar Sophal, the NGOF. At the beginning of the event, he welcomed the participants, both in-person and online, and briefly informed on the objectives of the workshop. There are two objectives as mentioned on the Agenda, he said. Mr. Sophal further mentioned that there were representatives from Ministry of Environment, Council for Development of Cambodia, MME, and Civil Society Organizations (CSO).

Key study findings were presented by Dr. Sam Chanthy, the Freelance Consultant, for about an hour. After having long summary of findings and reasons behind them, he provided concrete recommendations as following:
• In addition to the existing regulations, MoE and MME should take ESG into consideration providing ESG Standard Guidelines available;
• Relevant NGOs should collaborate with MoE and MME in establishment of ESG Standard Guidelines in Cambodia;
• Relevant information of mining should be shared publicly and accessible to all relevant stakeholders;
• Strengthening issuing permits for investment and EIA;
• Data base should be established for mining investment for together to contribute to ESG application;
• Best practices of ESG in mining should be promoted;
• MME has hotline and guidelines on conflict resolutions between companies and communities. In addition, the study recommended that Mechanism of the Conflict resolution should be provided;
• MME should strengthen the implementation of permit requirements, encourage good companies, and get penalties on bad companies;
• Awareness raising among sub-national levels of the utilization of the investment and Mining funds locally;
• MME should strictly apply (law on money laundering, 2007) in all companies regardless local, regional or international companies.

At the end of the active and fruitful workshop, Dr. Tek Vannara, the NGOF, underlined that the GM has been long from the past, e.g. Rovieng district, Preah Vihear province; mining sculpture posted on the Wall of Angkor, Pailin, Borkeo and Memang (Mondulkiri province) sites are among the few of historical GM sites. The GM has been contributed to the national development in Cambodia, he stressed.

Dr. Vannara stressed that based on the findings, recommendations, and comments from the workshop, we will:
• Continue to discuss on research, capacity building, and policy development working with ministries;
• On behalf of the FFC team, he thanked all the participants, in-person and online, for their hard working of the active morning;

He announced that the meeting results will be shared at latter stage, and he wished all the participants for healthy and success; and declared the meeting closed.